Health

Exposure to lead can be a risk factor in Alzheimer’s disease, says ICMR-NIN

Environmental exposure to lead is associated with many patho-physiological dysfunctions of the central nervous system, and now, recent lab-based studies have established a possible link to Alzheimer’s disease.

Environmental exposure to lead is associated with many patho-physiological dysfunctions of the central nervous system, and now, recent lab-based studies have established a possible link to Alzheimer’s disease.   | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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“Maternal exposure to lead during pregnancy can cause developmental reprogramming which can lead to higher risk and early onset of Alzheimer’s disease in later life.”

Lead is a common pollutant that can get into the environment from a number of commonly used materials like paints, cosmetics, batteries, glass and low-grade toys. Its role as a risk factor in the development of neuro-degenerative diseases has been established globally. Environmental exposure to this toxic heavy metal is associated with many patho-physiological dysfunctions of the central nervous system, and now, recent lab-based studies conducted at Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Nutrition (ICMR-NIN) have established a possible link between lead exposure and Alzheimer’s disease.

Molecular mechanism

The release issued by ICMR notes that senior scientist Suresh Challa looked into the molecular mechanism behind both lead and beta amyloid peptide induced toxicity by investigating the molecular mechanism involved in the development of lead induced Alzheimer’s disease through in vitro studies.

“In fact, Alzheimer’s disease has a complex patho-physiology which involves initially the formation of beta amyloid plaques and tangles in the brain. In addition, oxidative stress and inflammation are known to be involved in the progression of the disease, with loss of memory and neuronal cell death. In this scenario, our study investigated the basic molecular mechanism behind the involvement of lead in Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Challa

Developing strategies

“Maternal exposure to lead during pregnancy can cause developmental reprogramming which can lead to higher risk and early onset of Alzheimer’s disease in later life. Since lead exposure is an important public health concern, the current findings could be another piece in solving the puzzle towards understanding the intracellular mechanism of Alzheimer’s disease. Such findings may as well help in developing strategies for prevention and management of Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly,” said R. Hemalatha, Director, ICMR-NIN.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 7:13:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/exposure-to-lead-can-be-a-risk-factor-in-alzheimers-disease-says-icmr-nin/article30559587.ece

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